Across the world, mobile gaming is surging in popularity. Once upon a time, handheld consoles such as the Gameboy were the only way to play on the move, but today mobile devices capable of gaming have now become the primary choice for many, despite the smaller screens. We delve into the three main reasons below.
One of the defining factors contributing to the popularity of mobile gaming is convenience. In a society where time is becoming increasingly precious, fewer people have time to sit down and boot up their console. Consoles like the Switch, which become one of the top-selling game consoles of all time by the end of 2022, and the recently announced PlayStation Portal offer busy people a chance to participate wherever they are. When it comes to phones, foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 5 provide a portable option for those not willing to settle for the limited screen size of standard smartphones without taking up too much space.
Mobile gaming also provides very convenient ways to download games. All it takes is a trip to the app store and with the flick of a thumb, games can be downloaded instantly. This is a stark contrast to big-budget console games, which often take upwards of an hour to download even with a fast internet connection.
Whole industries have benefited from this, particularly the iGaming industry. For example, the best bingo app will have plenty of gaming offers in one handy space and be quick to download. Combined with great graphics, they are a quick alternative to lengthy console titles and also attract a more casual audience. This has helped buoy an alternative niche for gaming which is a worldwide, billion-dollar industry.
Another factor is the cost of devices. A mobile phone is an expensive outlay, though a device that is now an essential communication tool. A console is an added expenditure and is non-essential - this makes sense, as people may earn an income for luxuries, but are not so willing to invest in two separate systems.
As consoles increase in price and some cases, scarcity, it makes sense that many people would opt to make one large purchase and simply use a mobile device for gaming and communication. Of the 2.6 billion mobile gamers in the world, over half of them are from Asia. Popularity is also rising in continents such as Africa, suggesting a correlation between growing industrial economies and mobile gaming.
A final factor is the performance increase in mobile devices. They have come a long way from the games of Snake on the Nokia 3310. Even fairly simple puzzle games such as Candy Crush have complex animations with vibrant color palettes, demanding a lot of the phone's resources. None of this would have been possible without a huge increase in the performance of mobile devices, providing increased RAM and smaller, faster processors.
As an example, most standard smartphones will now come with a 2.5 GHz processor. Most modern Android phones have around 8GB of RAM, making them much more like small personal computers.
this will impact gaming in the future remains to be seen. Streamed
games are one element on the horizon, which would provide much bigger
and more in-depth games to mobile users. Whether the big corporations
will invest in this or not is still to be debated, but the only thing
for sure is that mobile gaming will be around in one form or another for
a long time to come.